Acupuncture, or now I’m a goddamned hippie

20100928 AlphaCityAcupunks-8

I might have mentioned that I now go to acupuncture. I’ve been going for about nine months, ever since I started having more issues than usual with my teeth grinding. Turns out it was my new night guard, which didn’t fit properly. That got fixed, but I enjoyed the acupuncture so I kept going.

San Francisco has a ton of acupuncture places. I picked a highly rated one in Bernal Heights, a bit of a schlep for me but worth it. The facility is very clean and has that good spa smell. Plus the woman has an incredibly calm and soothing demeanor.

The acupuncture won’t stop me from grinding my teeth, but it does help loosen up my jaw, and in fact my whole neck and shoulder area. My acupuncturist says I carry a lot of tension in both those place, possibly from sitting and typing all day.

It supposedly helps with other issues too. At the beginning of each appointment, she asks me about any other problems. The ones besides teeth grinding that I have regularly are acid reflux (i.e., an acid taste in my mouth), sinus pain, and general anxiety. She’ll adjust her needlework, so to speak, according to the issue. For instance, with sinus pain, she’ll put one in the middle of my eyebrows.

We also talk about my diet. She was sort of appalled that I ate instant noodles regularly, and was glad when I told her I had given them up completely. Regarding my acid reflux, she also suggested eating more cucumbers, celery, and parsley.

The big question: does it hurt? Not really. For me it’s more the anticipation of the needle going in, but when it does, it’s nothing more than the tiniest pinch.

After doing some massage and placing the needles, she’ll leave me alone for 20 to 30 minutes. Sometimes I fall asleep. Most of the time I just daydream. After she removes the needles, sometimes she’ll feel my jaw and shoulders again to see if they’ve loosened up.

I’m always super spacey afterward. My jaw is wonderfully sore and for some reason I pee a lot. I mean A LOT. I guess acupuncture helps cleanse the system, and that’s one way.

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